Practicing Awareness, with Richard Rohr

I’ve recently been reading Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now, another of his many books and resources for contemplative spirituality. These days I acknowledge my bent toward contemplation (but please don’t mistake me for a devotee of Schleiermacher), just as I grow stronger in my confessional identity (thanks to Luther and Melancthon). And so, I admit to entertaining Rohr somewhat skeptically. I don’t love his overt weaving of non-Christian theology into his take on Christian spirituality. I suppose that’s borne from my feelings that so many people kidnap Scripture and weave embedded theologies that seem so self-destructive. I hate to bring in non-Christian sources when we can’t even seem to get Scripture right.

Yet, I do recognize the importance of keeping somewhat open-minded, in order to discover elements from Rohr that can have rich meaning for my own experience of faith. With that, I was reading Rohr’s Appendix 4 – “Practicing Awareness.” He offers a 4-step method for a form of centering prayer, and I felt so moved to reflect on it here.

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Seeking My Vocation

I recently wrote about learning my spiritual and personality types. Along the way, I gained some insight into how I perceive God, and how that begins to establish my identity in the Body of Christ. But, I’m seeking answers to larger questions. I perceive God calling me to commit my life to serving the church and this broken world. But, what does that mean for my engineering career? And “service” can mean so many different things. Just what is God calling me to do?

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Discovering My Spiritual Type and the Myers-Briggs

Currently I’m taking the Practical Ministry I: Biblical Images course of the Diakonia Program. The course investigates the Lutheran concept of vocation, and introduces the concept of spiritual gifts having been bestowed upon each of us in diverse combinations. The “Biblical Images” part of the course is there too, but it’s an entire discussion for another day. It happens that I’ve been experiencing something of an identity crisis in recent years. I’ve been struggling with deep questions about my own sense of vocation and identity within the Body of Christ. Perhaps it’s more than coincidence that I find myself now being led through something of a more formal self-examination. Wily Holy Spirit indeed! Continue reading

Response to The Rapture Exposed

For one who has never given much thought to the Apocalypse, it can be easy to toss it into a mental trash bin labeled as “unimportant questions and stuff.” The Rapture Exposed introduces the cultural phenomenon of Left Behind and the pressing threat and popularity of dispensationalism. Barbara Rossing’s book captivates the reader with stories of emotional turmoil suffered by people raised in the culture of rapture belief. Rossing goes beyond discussing culture, to provide a thoughtful commentary on Revelation. Through the book, Rossing ties her insight to American foreign policy in the Middle East. This paper is a reflection on the impact of each of these themes. Continue reading